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Beneath EU’s blanket of optimism about controlling irregular migration, holes and hidden figures remain in its policy financing

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – The European Commission adopted its ‘hotspot’ approach in May 2015, during the enormous refugee wave that saw over a million people journey across the Mediterranean towards Europe. While EU members generally control their own borders and process asylum application, the Commission conceived of ‘hotspots’ as a way to provide direct operational support to Greece and Italy, the destinations for most migrants, many of them refugees from Syria.

But how has this approach’s administration and financing been handled? A special report on the Italian and Greek hotspots was released on…

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Can ‘strategic communications’ expose fake news – and how?

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – “We all know the power of fake news, and how difficult it is to address,” says Frederica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign and security policy chief, “Knowing the threat is essential, but not enough.” She addressed her remarks to a 2 October conference here, entitled “Hybrid Threats and the EU: State of Play and Future Progress.” But what is a hybrid threat exactly? Daniel Fiott, security and defence editor at the Paris-based EU Institute for Security Studies, offered one definition riffed from Carl von Clausewitz. While the Prussian military theorist said that war is “politics by other means”, hybrid threats, according to Fiott, constitute “war by other means.” That inversion of Clausewitz’s aphorism, however, holds a special challenge for Western governments in that some of their counter-efforts inevitably risk...